Thursday, December 27, 2012

Dick Mode

This holiday season I posted about what I call "dick mode" It's basically when my husband has a hair across his ass for probably no reason and makes everyone miserable....He's been pulling this "dick mode" shit for years and has perfected it...It's like a toddler thats to tired and overstimulated but doesn't realize he needs a nap...

For years my husband has slipped into this mode at Birthdays and most every holiday even vacations...you can always tell we are in "dick mode" by the ear piercing silence and his go to answer when you ask whats wrong of "I don't feel good"  I have been with this man for 16 yrs and he has ruined some of the best times by slipping into "dick mode"

I've decided I'm taking a stand against "dick mode"...not by being bitchy...but by being me...I've decided to do whats good for me..and it feels good!!

I wasn't sure how long it would take or even if it would work...his "dick mode" is that powerful....    

 To my surprise I over heard a conversation today that went like this...

Husband-girls are you excited to try out your new skis?? I want to come and watch you??

Girls- you never come watch you hate skiing..

Husband- yeah but mom really wants to go and try so I thought I'd maybe go too..

Girls-you said you would NEVER ski..

Husband- yeah but mom really wants to learn, so I though I'd try it with her..

Girls - it's gonna be expensive..

Husband- @#$*!!!

Did you see what happened here??...instead of begging him to come ski with me...I told him to stay the hell home...I'll go by myself or better..I'll find someone that wants to come with me...

                        Behold the power of "reverse dick mode"




Friday, December 7, 2012

Signs

Coming up on the holidays can bring many emotions and memories...

I am probably the most unreligious person you will ever meet...I'm not saying I don't believe, I just don't know exactly what I believe in...As I've said before I'm not very superstitious either...However I have said I think things happen for a reason...but I don't think EVERYTHING happens for a reason just some things if you keep your mind open...I look at these things as signs.

I don't see the into the future or see ghosts, but what I do see are things that relate to my life at that moment...A song that relates to a situation your currently in and lifts your spirits...an unexpected pregnancy that led them to finding my cancer in the early stages...a shooting star on the day my mother went into surgery for her own cancer and also on the night my grandmother died...I've also seen shooting stars when I've been under extreme stress and felt relief thinking it was a "sign" things would be okay and guess what, they were...

We all get busy and ignore certain things around us...I am guilty of this...I tend to yes my kids to death during conversations and only half listen...I tend to hurry the people along at work and maybe not fully hear what they are saying...

Sharing this blog was the first time my kids really heard of me having cancer...my oldest daughter Sarah asked if she could read the blogs and I said yes..she also follows my page and comments here and there to my posts...My youngest Morgan on the other hand doesn't have a clue..she knows I take medication for my thyroid but probably never fully understood why...I've always felt a special connection between Morgan and myself because if it wasn't for her my diagnosis could have been much worse..

I've been trying to find the right words to bring this up to her..but what do you say??  I always find the best time to talk to my kids is in the car yet every time I had the opportunity something got in the way...then I noticed that the same god damn song kept coming on, a song I didn't like so I kept switching it...

I was driving Morgs to school the other morning and she was going on and on about how many days left until Christmas and how many school days left until winter break....I'm trying to focus through school traffic and her chatter and that song comes on..I didn't switch it this time and I hear the words...The song is by Swedish House Mafia and the lyrics say "don't worry child...see heavens got a plan for you"...A sign??

So I decided to tell Morgan that there is another special day in December other than Christmas...she asked me what it was..and I said "Dec 12th..the day I had my surgery and the doctor took out my cancer" ...She said "You had cancer?" I told her I did but it's gone now and because of her they found it..she looked puzzled..So I said "you might have saved me from getting very sick and thats why you've heard me call you my guardian angel".....She didn't say anything and we were pulling into the school...So I said "isn't that cool, your like a super hero"....Thats when she turned and smiled and she said " No I'm not..I had nothing to do with it...God sent me"


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Finding happiness

Yesterday I sat down and starting writing a blog...it was more like a bitching blog gone wild...I touched base on a lot of things I deal with on a daily basis as far as the struggle in my head with my body and the different effects of medication changes etc...

Sharing is great...but what a downer that blog was turning into....it was actually making me more pissed off the more I wrote...Lately I have been feeling down about all the changes that I go through and how it's been a very long road and some days I am just done...

I don't feel like the same person I was 11 yrs ago and I was mad...I was remembering all the energy I used to have...the long shiny hair I had...and yes how thin I used to be...some days I just cannot get used to who I am now...how could this be my fate...

Then I started reading all the comments left for me and it just brings happy tears to my eyes...words like strong..courageous...amazing...all these nice words from people that I've never met and some I have...I'll take fabulously amazing over long hair any day!!

 I decided to chuck that bitchy blog on the back burner and look at what I have now...not what I have lost...

I have a husband who loves me and my body...makes me a fresh pot of coffee every day and leaves me notes...


I have had been able to give my kids some wonderful life experiences and I'm looking forward to many many more...we are happy and healthy and I'll take it...

I appreciate being able the share this more than you know...thank you readers..for keeping me in check...





Thursday, November 8, 2012

thinking thoughts

Every year coming up on Morgan's birthday I get this feeling...I get all sentimental and reminisce...I look at all my pictures and watch old home movies of the kids when they were babies...I love it!!  My husband on the other hand has a difficult time...he gets emotional remembering how hard it was...
Today I was looking at pictures... looking at some really young ones of them....just smiling away...not knowing what I was going through....they never knew...how would they...they were to little...I'm amazed now.. thinking...how did I accomplish that...

I did however come across the very first portrait I had taken of Morgan and one of them together. ... I've always hated these pictures...I've never told anyone this...

Morgan was 5 days old and I was approaching my surgery... I packed them up on an insanely cold day and took them both to the mall...I didn't have a double stroller yet, so Sarah had to walk and wined the entire time...I bought Morgan an outfit and took the tags off... Sarah was dressed in a hand me down dress from my niece...I changed Morgan on the bench outside of Sears...I remember two old women sitting across from me watching me struggle..I looked like hell..not showered..tired..in sweats..no makeup...

I took them into Sears and had their portraits done...I remember the looks when I told them Morgan was only 5 days old...typically you wait until your baby is smiling and all cute to take them for pictures...Morgan was still all red and wrinkly...It was more of a chore instead of fun....The memory of this is hard....I took them for pictures that day because... If I didn't.. who would've .. if I died...I wanted the memory for them...not me...

Looking at these pictures today I can smile...because I'm still here...I've made it... and have a ton more pictures and memories to reflect on...each milestone, a celebration...not only because it's something we did....but because I was here to do it...

Every birthday cake...every school picture...I made it...yes!!...My kids don't realize even now why I'm emotional when I am... like being in Disney on the dumbo ride with fireworks going off...crying in John's arms thinking thank god I'm here for this...for them.. I cannot imagine being without them...better yet.. them being without me...

It's weird to think they had no idea of what was going on around them...it's scary to think how aware they would be if this were to happen again now...As a parent you would go to the ends of the earth to make sure your kids didn't suffer or worry...I went to the edge of hell and back and I made sure they had no clue...



I said it before, I'm not into the sappy crap...like... everyday is a gift....Live everyday likes it's your last...blah blah....don't dwell on the past..yadda yadda....don't sweat the small stuff....all those sayings...I don't believe in them....but weather you try to live by these or not...life happens..and it moves forward with or without you...whatever it throws at me... I will take it...

After I went through all of this I became ridiculously controlling...feeling like everything had to be perfect....recently during my last appointment....I got a reality check....none of that shit matters...the dishes in the sink can wait...go out to lunch with friends instead...How many times have you blown off a birthday party but made it to a funeral...Yeah...I'll take a funny picture of my kids any day over the perfect one...


You know I actually forget the point of this entire blog...I can't even remember what I was going to write or how it was going to end...But that's life...you just never know...

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Thank you

Thanks for reading my story and thank you for your kind words....I decided to write this blog mostly for myself....just to get out what I've held in....I didn't think anyone would read it and I was surprised when people wanted to read more...I've never written anything before...but I guess I had a lot to say...

I know there are people out there that aren't so lucky..there are adults and children that have endured months of chemo...I guess thats what got me through.. thinking...it could always be worse.

 I said before life doesn't stop because you have something like cancer... you just have to pick up the pieces and keep going...I guess until now I never had the chance to reflect on what I went through...Writing this was hard in a few spots...it took me a few times to even be able to read it out loud...but sharing it felt great..

The support that I have gotten while sharing this has been amazing...when your going through something like this it's hard to talk about it....your living it...I didn't want to constantly dwell on it and one of my biggest problems was I didn't want to burden or worry anyone else...through all this I've had up days and down days...I've felt alone..overwhelmed...beaten down..unattractive...this takes a toll you after a while....I wish now I had reached out to someone that new what I was going through...

But now after writing this...my eyes have been opened by all you awesome readers...I've gotten some wonderful comments and some messages thanking ME for writing...thanking ME for sharing...
I've had people say things like "amazing"....inspiration"... "strong"....And they are talking about ME!!....I'm blown away...All this time I've never thought of myself as being any of these things...

So I'm giving this facebook page thing a try....please share it...if it helps just one person...I will be happy...maybe it will just help me..who knows...My sister over at "The crumb diaries" has connected with tons of mom's of special needs kids...I hope we can all do the same here...share you story with me if you want...give advice ...get advice...post a question...You don't have be sick or have cancer to be on here...and I promise it won't be all about  medical issues....If you know me AT ALL you know I have TONS of crap to post..blog..and rant about...

If you don't know me yet...I am Ash...I'm a wife...a mom...and a cancer survivor...You can read my previous blogs right here....I just went back to school and I'm now working as an Lna after being home with my kids their entire lives...a weekly date night with my husband keeps me sane and reminds me of why I love him so much...we have two daughters ages 14 & 10...and at the moment we have 5 cats..

You guys are fantastic....I look forward to sharing more...good things of course.....xoxo Ashley

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Damn you thyroid of steel...

Sadly at this point my thyroid of steel became a joke at the doctors office...But honestly if I didn't laugh.. I wanted to cry....We celebrated Morgan's first birthday.... then the anniversary of my surgery came and went......we got through the holidays.... then it was time to gear up for round 3....Off my meds I went....this time it really felt like no big deal...and it was an even smaller dose...

The girls loved staying with my parents...so that part was not a problem...the problem this time was, my parents lived in mass...we lived in maine...and John was going away snowmobiling for a few days..exactly the same time I'd be radio active....I didn't want to stay home alone and I couldn't stay at my parents because of the kids....soooo I went on an ALL guys snowmobile trip with John....what an experience that turned out to be....I was the running joke the entire time...Hey Ash are you glowing?? Hey Ash can you come stand next to my food and heat it up??? Hey John when you kiss her does she spark...hahaha... very funny guys!!

Like the other times the first day or so I was okay..but by the third day I was miserable...I sucked it up and did what I had to do so John still enjoyed his guys trip....the guys took good care of me and knew what I was going through...they didn't care if I wanted to pull over for a break...or go to bed early....
 we still laugh about me tagging along it to this day....

I don't remember going back for another scan....I don't remember much about the meds after that last treatment..I remember being frustrated about how I still felt..now 25 yrs old...I felt fat...depressed...worn down...I felt like I was someone I wasn't supposed to be....I actually remember just saying fuck it and not going back to the endocrinologist for a while....I'm not sure if it was because I didn't want to get any more bad news..or if I just needed a break....

When I moved to New Hampshire.... I found an endocrinologist in Hampton who was pretty good and much closer for blood work...but this guy was more into the diabetes side of the endocrine system so he didn't really do much for me and was constantly changing my doses...and every time something about my dose changed...I changed.....weight gain/ weight loss..anxiety..depression..fatigue..hair loss..etc...

Lucky for me this endocrinologist moved his practice and he was replaced by a lady..I still see her and really like her a lot...she's awesome and takes me very seriously and most importantly listens to what I have to say...she is also very thorough ...she has kept up with my blood work and ultra sounds...I have my blood drawn every 7 weeks and she calls me and lets me know the results right away...

During an appointment last May....she was saying how surprised she was that I can tolerate the amount of medication I take....so she wanted me to give her the run down on when I take my meds....When do you take your medication??... In the morning....what do you take it with??.. My coffee...what do you put in your coffee??...Cream...did you know cream has calcium in it and that will block your medication???... Nope I didn't....how long have you been taking your meds this way??
10 yrs!!!

So I had been taking my meds with something that blocked the absorption and depending on how much coffee I drank each morning and how much cream I dumped in... it was always a crap shoot on the amount of medication my body was getting!!!!

All these years and they never asked and I never knew how in the world my levels where constantly off....So let's fix this...sounds easy right??? WRONG!!!

 Basically they calculate your meds on your weight...so I should be taking roughly 108mcg (micrograms) per day...I have been taking almost 200mcg daily....so since May I have changed my schedule....I now take my meds at night....now every time I have my blood drawn my levels are through the roof..because I don't have anything blocking it anymore...she has been changing the dose very slowly...taking a half of tab away at a time... I wait 7 weeks on the new dose and then they check...it's been long and stressful and every blood draw I'm excited to hear the results...but so far every time has been another medication change and another 7 long weeks of feeling like total shit...

The last medication change was the worst..I called and begged to be seen...I explained how awful I felt...They were sorry but I'd have to wait out the 7 weeks until it leveled out and they could check the bloodwork...I swear it was the longest 7 weeks I've had in a long time....It's harder now to hide it....I get moody and tired...I have a hard time focusing on simple things like helping my kids with homework...  I swear sometimes I feel like I'm on another planet...

 Finally it was time for my bloodwork...she also called and said she would like to schedule an ultrasound.....ok sure...

Two weeks ago I had my bloodwork and ultrasound... going to the ultrasound I felt uneasy...I can't explain why...I just did...They took me right in and I laid down...having them press on your neck with that stupid thing sucks...It's hard not to swallow...we went over my history and I noticed she was spending more time and taking more pictures of a certain spot...she called in another person and the mood changed...I fought back the tears and tried to breath...I'm reading into this I know it...it was over and I remember her saying that they would have the radiologist read this right away and my doctor would have the results by the morning....results of what?? wasn't this just a routine ultra sound??... My husband told me to relax...my friends said don't worry....I never got a call so I figured no news was good news....

It's so easy for people to simply say "don't worry...things will be fine"...after they tell you these words and even though they really do mean it...their life goes on...they are not waiting...wondering....worrying I will not be relieved until I hear there is nothing in there....I'm not saying that waiting for results aren't hard on everyone....but I think the anticipation of results is a bit more intense for someone who's had cancer.....every time I'm sick for a long time...every pain that doesn't go away...every weird unexplained symptom... I'm not gonna lie....I think oh shit it's come back to finish it's job...it's come back to get me...I don't know if I'll ever be worry free of this...ever...

In 28 days the little person that was growing in my belly when that lump was found will be 11...it's been almost 11 yrs!!  Some days I look back and cannot believe it....some days it seems like yesterday....it was a crazy experience....that is for sure...and I wouldn't wish it on anyone...

The past 11 yrs haven't always revolved around this...it's something I've learned to deal with and live with everyday....I've been healthy and fortunate enough to travel with my husband and kids...we snowmobile in the winter and camp in the summer...After being a stay at home mom and doing daycare out of my home I recently went back to school and now work as an LNA...life is good!!

Last week I showed up for my appointment....First thing is step on the scale....I'd lost a few lbs...always a good thing in my book...the nurse rooms me and takes my blood pressure and asks how I am feeling....I tell her crappy and she writes down everything I say....finally my adorable little doctor comes in....she sits and says ...well what do you think I'm going to tell you??... I say..my meds have got to be off I feel like crap ....she tells me I'm correct.....go figure....so we decrease once again and wait...

Moving on...she brings up the ultra sound....I can feel my eyes start to water and burn..deep breaths...and then she says it...They found malignant looking lymph nodes on the same side they found my tumor.....she went on to say that the cancer markers in my blood are non detectable and that is very positive...lymph nodes can looks weird for a number of reasons so there's no need to panic...we will have more blood work in 7 weeks and a follow up ultra sound in a few months...have a nice day...

I cried all the way home...I took some time off from work and changed my schedule a little bit...I'm trying not to let this worry take over...waiting sucks..medication sucks..blood work sucks...cancer sucks

 I know a lot of people that have read this didn't know any of it....it's not something you just meet someone and share...Hi my name is Ash and I had cancer...no it's not like that...although I'm not bothered by my scar and don't mind talking about this...it's not a trophy..for me it's a painful reminder..

I've also had people that are very close to me ask themselves..where was I??..what the hell was I doing when you were going through this??...well I have asked myself the same things...why didn't I share more?? ..why didn't I ask for more help???...I think during tough times you go into survival mode..and I was probably doing just that...surviving..

I believe everything happens for a reason...I never did before until I got diagnosed with cancer...I don't think I got cancer for a reason.. I think I got pregnant  for a reason...If I had never gotten pregnant..they may not have found the lump....maybe not until it was to late ...do I think I had the best cancer ever??...NO...but I do think it could have been a lot worse...
                               I believe I got my guardian angel early...her name is Morgan






Morgan 1st birthday




Friday, October 26, 2012

Treatment~Round Two

While my kids were happy to have me home and the baby was growing and thriving..I felt like I was dying...Was I??  Honestly I didn't know....I had crazy symptoms and didn't know how to deal with them....I was a person that was never sick, never saw the doctor, didn't take medications....and now all of a sudden I as doing all of the above...

After the first round of Radioactive iodine I didn't really feel the effects until later on...I started losing hair..I couldn't lose the baby weight....I was tired...I felt aggravated all the time....I was jittery and high strung and even though I was tired I couldn't sleep...And most of all I was mad as hell that I felt this way....I was the type of mother that would have dropped anything for a walk to the park...I had patience for silly things and loved being a mom...All sudden I wasn't that person anymore..it took all I had just to get out of bed in the morning..

To look at me you would have never know anything was wrong...it was all internal...I remember John being upset that I had no sex drive...I remember Sarah being confused on why I didn't want to push her on the swings for the 500th time...and when Morgan would cry in the middle of the night I remember thinking just go to fucking sleep!!

Life doesn't stop when you have cancer....some days you just have to suck it the fuck up because there are people counting on you...I had two little people that depended on me...I remember one day calling John and just snapping....I couldn't take the stress anymore....I hated everything and everyone...That day I made myself a doctors appointment because I knew I needed help...My regular Doctor could not see me so I saw his nurse...I walked in with Morgan and sat down and could barely speak...the emotions took over and I broke down..She asked me if there was someone she could call...Yes, call my sister...and she did...what I didn't realize is this nurse new nothing about what I'd just been through..she saw me and a brand new baby and make a quick judgement...she thought I was a young overwhelmed mother that possibly had postpartum depression...she was calling my sister to come get Morgan...did she really think I'd hurt my own baby???

I was pissed and after explaining why I was there...she said to go back to the hospital in burlington, she would call ahead and have someone waiting for me...thank god!!  I took the girls to my parents for the night and went to the hospital E.R....when I walked in and told them my name..they had in fact been waiting for me...They gave me a room, took my vitals and took some blood...and then they walked in...A crisis management team...Are you serious??  Oh they were very serious, and they looked at me like I was nuts...They asked me a million questions and watched my reactions...have you taken any drugs..Does radio active iodine count??  Have you gone through any trauma...Just found out I had cancer!!.. All that didn't seem to matter to them...why weren't they listening to me....Would you ever hurt your children...I remember saying noway and crying feeling defeated....why are you crying?? why are you so emotional?? Well wouldn't you be???

They told me they had to leave and go and discuss with their team of crazy's weather or not I could go home....I wished I'd never come...I was just looking for help....about an hour later the E.R. doctor came in and said "I'm so sorry" ...why was I being committed??.. No they had finally gotten my lab results and my thyroid level was through the roof....what had happened was...when I had the radioactive iodine and the thyroid was destroyed it released all of the thyroid hormone into my body...I wasn't crazy...I had 3 times the normal amount of thyroid hormone in my body...I left with some ativan instead of a straight jacket...

So after that nightmare things settled down and leveled out and I began taking medication...I couldn't do the second radioactive iodine treatment right away, there had to be several months in between...I felt pretty good, normal....the kids were awesome..Morgan by this time was sitting up and Sarah was smart as a whip...we were hanging out with friends and it felt good...until it was time for the next treatment...in order for my thyroid to suck up the iodine I had to go off my meds...the meds that kept my energy level up...the meds that kept my hair growing..the meds that kept me feeling sane...I had to go off of them for 4 weeks...I can do this..I had to...It was a fight everyday...I'd never been tired...I'd never been depressed..I was the person that would have dropped everything and jumped in her car and driven 100 miles to nowhere just for the adventure...and now I could barely make it out of my driveway...

I made it through the 4 weeks of no meds and once again had the radioactive iodine...this time it was a lesser dose and I only had to be away from the girls for 5 days....John was working at an airport in Maine so instead of being alone in the house I decided to go with him..I was happy to get away...but this time it hit me a hell of a lot harder than last time...not only did I have no meds in my system.. this was killing off the last bit of working thyroid I had...I remember not wanting to be by myself and John not wanting to leave me in the hotel...so he wrapped me up in a blanket and I sat in his truck on the runway while he worked...I slept most of the time and I did some reading...I was pale and weak and my neck hurt this time...this was the first time I felt like a sick person..

I couldn't wait to get home to the girls and get back on my meds...at least now with my thyroid totally gone there would be no worry....it took a long time to regulate my meds but I was feeling better...my hair didn't come back the same.. it was thin, dry and turning grey at the age of 24...I didn't drop all my baby weight and I was used to being very thin...this was hard for me to get used to...but I felt better....I got a bit of a break and enjoyed the summer...we actually moved to Maine where John was working and getting away was awesome!!  I did commute the 3 hours back and fourth for appointments because I didn't want to change doctors...but we would make it a sleepover at meme and papas and all was pretty good...

It was coming up on a year since the surgery..I couldn't believe Morgan was turning a year old...she was a great baby..laid back and super sweet...And Sarah was the mayor of our house..she called the shots..I was enjoying every minute of being with them...

At my doctors appointment she said it was time to get a routine scan...but my meds would need tweaking so I could be injected with a small amount of iodine... whatever cells, if any where left they would absorb the iodine....bring it on!!

It was winter and the only things I can remember about being off my meds were constantly being freezing cold and gaining weight...I showed up for the scan and it was just like before...been there done that...I got this!!

Then I got a call....Ding Ding..round 3 of radio active iodine had been ordered


Recovery~Diagnosis~treatment



"Good Morning Sunshine" are the first words I heard upon waking up from surgery in the elevator heading to recovery...I remember only being able to keep my eyes open for seconds at a time...I remember being in so much pain and not being able to talk to tell anyone....the nurses however were great...every time they would see me start to wake up they would come and hit my morphine and I'd be out like light..

I didn't realize till later that I laid there for nearly 5 hours after surgery...It had been a long day for my mother and John in the waiting room..They let my mom in to see me and then she went back home to be with the girls..John came in after and I remember them making him leaving because he kept asking me questions and they didn't want me to talk...

I finally got to go upstairs to my room...John was there and I had awesome nurses..At this point I was wide awake and able to talk a little bit..I was starving and wanted to eat..chicken broth and jello was all I was allowed and I promptly threw it all up the minute it hit my stomach...They told me I should get up and walk around..I never realized how much my neck muscles did until that day...I could barely roll over in bed and they wanted me to walk up and down the halls, really??  I did what they said and walked to the vending machine so John could get a snack and started to pass out..It was scary..I remember having to sit down and then dry heaving on the floor...I was embarrassed and John had to carry me back to my room..

My night's sleep sucked, they put those boots on my feet that filled up with air and every time they did I'd wake up....I couldn't roll over or get comfortable... John slept in the chair next to my bed...The next morning was miserable..but I was going home!!  I will never forget John actually complaining about having a stiff neck from sleeping in that chair....are you kidding me!!!...YOU have a stiff neck???

I had a surprise visit from the surgeon before being discharged...He wanted to tell me in person that he did in fact leave the left half of my thyroid gland inside me. The lump was looked at in the operating room by a pathologist and looked like it was just a goiter..it would be sent out for further testing...He said with this half of my thyroid being left inside my body I had a much better chance at not having to be on medication for the rest of my life...He acted like he did me a huge favor....so I was grateful..

Driving home was excruciating....I swear John hit every bump possible...I arrived home and my couch had been pulled out and made into a bed where I would stay so I could watch t.v....I was pretty much out of it..on a lot of pain medication...I couldn't get up by myself and could barely eat....I don't remember how many days it was until I saw the girls...when I did finally get to see them it was painful  emotionally and physically....I was to sore to hold Morgan and every time Sarah would jump, hug or try to snuggle me, it hurt..I wasn't able to fully care for them by myself for about a week and a half..

Aside from recovering and trying to get better so I could have the kids home...Christmas was coming!! And between having a baby and having surgery, I hadn't done any shopping at all...I remember saying screw it and driving to walmart..my mom yelling at me because they had told me not to drive for 2 weeks..oh well...I remember standing in the toy aisle in so much pain, fighting back the tears and then leaving the toy filled cart there and going home...I was finally able to convince John we needed to go to the mall...We didn't have a lot of money so I asked Sarah if she could have anything what would it be?? She wanted a giant winnie the pooh...I was on a mission and found her one at the disney store..Now I couldn't wait until christmas morning!

Christmas was great!! Every year my parents would put on an open house with tons of food and tons of people...I would be able to dress the girls up and I think it was the first time I put on real clothes since having Morgan..I remember wearing a turtle neck because I didn't want anyone to see my neck and ask about it...After all I was heading to the Doctors the very next day and it would all be behind me..so let's enjoy this night with friends and family...

My follow up appointment was the day after Christmas..it was also the first time I'd be taking both kids out with me..my mom came too...My first follow up was with the endocrinologist.. my follow up with the surgeon was a few days later...I was thankful I'd made it through this and I was looking forward to putting this behind me and being able to get back into a routine with the girls...We sat in the room and waited for the doctor....she appeared with a folder in her hand and asked me if I'd seen the surgeon yet? Nope I hadn't..."I just pulled your pathology results off the computer" She said...wonderful..lay it on me....And then she said it....It was cancer...

I remember panicking and immediately crying..My mom shushing me because she needed to hear what this lady was saying..Sarah asking me what was wrong...I wanted to grab that folder and rip it up...I wanted this doctor to go check it again...obviously she'd gotten it wrong...the surgeon told me it looked okay....go fucking check again!!!

She wasn't wrong... there was no mistake...the lump was minimally invasive follicular carcinoma...words I will never forget...but it was easily treatable and according to her...if your going to have cancer it's the best one to have...Are you serious?? Do you want to take my place on this table right now??.. Was I supposed to feel lucky??...Like I had hit the mother fucking cancer lottery??..

She reminded us that the surgeon had left the other half of my thyroid inside and told me she would immediately schedule a second surgery..WHAT??? There's noway I could do that again...there's noway this is really happening...I needed time to digest this..I needed to go home...

I don't remember the drive home..I don't remember the kids being in the back seat...but I remember my mom being ridiculously calm and positive when all I wanted to do was swear at anyone that looked at me and punch them in the face...we drove to her house and I called john...it was the first time I'd said it out loud...It's cancer...

My follow up with the surgeon was here...John came with me and I had all the bandages and steri strips removed..the scar was there and it was still numb..I remember touching it and getting sick to my stomach...The surgeon went over the pathology report....like I hadn't heard it loud and clear the first time...I told him the endocrinologist wanted another surgery and my guess was he would be the one to do it....He didn't like this and took offense right away...there was no need to question his work...he got it all...he told me "I'm good at what I do"... He did me a favor and left that side in, so I could have a more normal future...didn't I remember if I was his wife that's what he'd do??..I remember thinking..  Do you hate your fucking wife??

It became a battle between the surgeon and the endocrinologist and I was caught in the middle...I decided to get a second opinion and see the most recommended doctor at Mass general in Boston...
John and I went and sat in his office...he was one of those guys that was sooo smart he came off as odd...he had a bunch of interns sitting in with us...the more the merrier!!...they discussed me like I wasn't even in the room and tossed some mumbo jumbo back and fourth and then he finally said (and I'm not kidding when I type this) "as much as I'd love to slice your neck open..there's no need to"and he recommended I have radioactive iodine treatment.

To me it was a better alternative to having another surgery..I called my endocrinologist and asked if she  was okay with this new plan and could she set it up...Yes she was...I scheduled lots of appointments and had tons of blood work and scans...Then learned that I would be radioactive?? I would need to be in isolation??? My stomach sank when they told me I would have to stay away from the kids for another 7 days...it was to dangerous for them to be around me...so once again I packed them up and my mom and sister took over...

They had to special order this radioactive stuff and I had to be there when is was delivered...it was late at night and we drove to the hospital...the nuclear medicine room was in the basement and John had to wait outside...they led me into what looked like a vault .... a guy with a suit and gloves on took a lead canister out of the counter and opened it....he told me to hold out my hand...out of this big thing came two pills...he gave me some water and told me to swallow them....let me get this straight, your in here in a suit and gloves and won't even touch these pills and you want me to eat them??? Thats exactly what they wanted me to do and in doing this it would kill any remaining thyroid I had left.

I went home...all was fine...I didn't feel radioactive..I didn't look radioactive...I couldn't go out in public...I couldn't be within 3 feet of John for more than 10 minutes...I ate with plasticware and paper plates and had to throw them away outside...I had to flush the toilet 3 times when I went to the bathroom...I couldn't spit my toothpaste in the sink it had to be spit in the toilet and flushed 3 times...I couldn't chew gum...wash all clothes separately and wash them twice...and god forbid if I threw up I had to call nuclear medicine for a clean up.. and in case I died nuclear medicine would have to be called to come get my body!!

After a very looong week of basically being bored to death...I was ready to get my kids and celebrate!! I had to go back to the hospital for more bloodwork and another scan...I remember being giddy at the thought this was over..I was happy and told myself it was a small price to pay for my health and the kids would never remember not being with me during those weeks...after all they were being spoiled rotten by their Meme and Auntie...

I got my iv inserted and waited to be called...they called me in and let John stand behind the glass and watch...I laid on the table and they turned on the machine..the lights when all around and they slid me in..telling me when to breathe and when to hold my breath...when it was over I don't remember what they said..if anything at all...I just couldn't wait to get out of there..we went home feeling relieved and I would return to the endocrinologist and start discussing meds...big deal so I have to take a pill everyday..to me it seemed that easy...

When I returned for my follow up.....once again this bitch with the folder told me devastating news..
my scan showed a piece of working thyroid still in there....I would have to go through another round of the radio active iodine...now not only was I lucky enough to get THIS kind of cancer....I was lucky enough to have what they were calling...the thyroid of steel..
Christmas Night
Morgan the reindeer
Sarah & Morgan

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Pregnancy Part 2



So I was 15 weeks pregnant, I had a lump in my neck and there was nothing I could do about it....The surgeon was super optimistic and reassured me everything was going to be fine...I remember the thoughts that ran through my mind..Would whatever this was affect the baby?? Would it make me sick?? Would it grow into something bad before I could have it out?? Why was this even in there!!!

Eventually the worry about it went away, I had much more to focus on...A smart little 3 yr old that wanted attention from me every second of everyday...my growing belly...my 24th birthday and the summer ahead...

I scheduled my ultra sound for the baby and Sarah accompanied me...She was sure that this was a baby brother and was already calling it "Toby" to this day I have no clue where that name ever came from...Hot jelly on my belly and the screen lit up, there it was all tucked in and safe...the tech asked if we want to know if it was a boy or girl?? Yes!! She printed out a picture and handed it to Sarah, on the picture it said "Your new baby SISTER!!" I think this was the only time in Sarah's life she was speechless, then she said "Toby is a girl??" Yes I guess so...

Over the next few weeks my midwife suggested that I get a second opinion and see an endocrinologist. I found a women at Lahey clinic and made an appointment...We reviewed everything, and she confirmed this lump had to come out and referred me to a surgeon in Burlington that was considered the best.

I'm not sure how long I waited to see this new surgeon....I had more important stuff on my agenda...Like Sarah starting pre-school for the very first time...coming up with and painting a theme for our nursery...digging out all of Sarah's baby clothes and making sure they were ready...And a name...we needed a name!

I finally went and saw this surgeon and he too agreed this lump was coming out along with my thyroid...I'm thinking wait a sec, don't you need that??  I was given tons of paperwork to read and was told the endocrinologist would take care of the thyroid part as far as medication I would need afterwards...This still wasn't a reality to me, I guess because I was still pregnant and couldn't move forward...maybe she could stay in there forever and I wouldn't have to deal with this...no such luck..I left that appointment with a surgery date..Dec 12th 2001..22 days after I was supposed to give birth.

Ok I could handle this right?? I had no choice, weather I liked it or not this baby was coming out and so was the lump...Halloween came and went and we were fastly approaching my due date...I got down to the weekly appointments and they kept saying "she's ready"...Nov 20th came and went, as did the 21st, 22nd, 23rd etc...I begged them to induce me because the longer she waited the closer my surgery date was getting..

It was Nov 27th and I was in labor!!  I had my parents take Sarah and I called the midwife. My water had not broken yet, so there was no rush...I got the the hospital, and they broke my water at 1 am...    At 1:17 am on Nov 28th  Morgan Sayward Laskiewicz was born...8lbs 13ozs and bald...She was perfect...

Instead of having 22 days to recover from giving birth I had 14...During those 2 short weeks, it wasn't your typical snuggling and devoting every minute to your new baby...For me it was making sure I had people to take care of my kids while I was in the hospital and while recovering...Making lists of their schedules and writing notes to the teacher of who would be picking up and dropping sarah off...trying to explain to a 3 yr old why she would have to stay at her grandparents for a week while I was at home...and trying to wrap my head around handing over my 2 week old baby to someone else for a week..

I had to go into the hospital the day before my surgery to fill out some forms...John was with me and we took Morgan too..They handed me a thick packet to read through and sign..It said things like..Pain, trauma, stiffness, damaged vocal cords, wind pipe, tracheotomy...all the things that could go wrong.

We left and took Morgan to my parents where both kids would sleep so I could get up early to head to the hospital...I was thankful that between my parents and my sister, we had all the bases covered...I don't remember much of that night except for my father asking me if I had thought about the possibility of not making it out of surgery....Not until now dad..thanks a lot!!..Then with quick hugs and kisses I left them there...

The next morning came quick and we were in the car heading to the hospital...I couldn't eat or drink anything and I remember John wanting to stop for a coffee, how selfish I thought...I checked in and they made you sit a room and wait.. Everyone looking at each other wondering why they were there. I don't think John and I talked and then the lady came out and called my name..This was it..This was what I had been waiting for and dreading for months...A quick hug and kiss and then I was behind closed doors...

The room was big, full of beds...people being prepped for different surgeries...she handed me a johnny and told me to take everything off...I asked her if I could keep my underwear on because I was still bleeding from just having a baby...she had to go ask if it was okay and it was not...well that was just great...

The anesthesiologist came next...I remember him being the sweetest person I'd encountered in there yet...He mixed me up a cocktail to calm my nerves and I was relieved when he told me he'd be in there with me the entire time....Next was the surgeon, he came and explained what he was going to do and how they do it...Through my loopiness I heard him say it was a lot like the biopsy, they would hang my head off the end of the able and make the incision just above my collar bone..And not to worry because the scar would be in a wrinkle and hardly noticeable...Yeah cause that's my biggest friggen worry right now!! They would insert a breathing tube through the neck so I could breathe...Then they would remove the lump along with the right side of my thyroid gland...He decided it was best if they had a pathologist look at the lump before they closed me up, that way if it was in fact just a goiter he would leave the left side of the thyroid glad intact..I was uneasy about this because we had all agreed the whole thing should come out...but who was I to argue with a guy carrying a scalpel...As he walked away he said "if you were my wife that's what I'd do".

When it was time they wheeled me into the operating room..It was cold and bright and I remember thinking, it's exactly like what you see on T.V...I remember them moving me from the bed I was in over to the table and apologizing for being so heavy because I'd just had a baby...In fact I had two babies at home..so you better not screw this up!!

Then I heard "see in recovery" and it was lights out...

Sarah and my big belly

Me and Morgan

Morgan

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Pregnancy


This is my first blog ever...I'm sure by the time I'm done I'll have a few more...you might be reading this on my page, my sister's page, a friends?? I'm doing this hoping to connect with some people that can relate....so here goes..


I'm not a religious person, nor do I believe in superstitions. But through my journey, there is one thing I have grown to believe in and that is...everything happens for a reason.  If you had preached this crap to me 11 yrs ago I would have told you to shut it and move along..

In 2001, I lived with my boyfriend and our 3 yr old daughter. A kid free getaway up north to snowmobile resulted in a surprise pregnancy...It's not something we had planned at the time but we were both happy after the shock wore off....Since I had done this before there was no rush to make the boring gynecologist appointment, so I waited a few weeks....

With my 3 year old Sarah in tow, we headed to our first appointment.  We met our new midwife and to my surprise got to hear the heart beat on our first visit!!  After going over the regular questions and giving me a due date of Nov 20th, she asked me if I had any concerns.

I told her I had a sore throat and I was worried it was strep. She cultured my throat and checked my glands, moving her hands down my neck and around to the front she paused and said "do you know you have a large lump here?" Uh no, how many times do you feel the front of your own neck...She left the room and came back with another doctor, by the time I left that appointment, I had another appointment for an ultrasound the very next day...

I showed up for the ultrasound again with a toddler in tow and the tech was so awesome she gave us out first sneak peak at our baby!!  I was so happy and thinking about names not what was in my neck....The word goiter had been tossed around at the doctors office, so I wasn't at all worried...But to my surprise they once again called in more doctors and when I left that appointment, I left this time with an appointment to see a surgeon immediately....

I was starting to worry, I called John and  told him to come home, I needed him for this appointment....I called and had my grandparents watch Sarah and we headed to the surgeons office.  The exam was routine and he didn't seem overly worried, he too talked about it probably being a goiter (whatever the hell that was) but to be on the safe side he wanted to do a fine needle biopsy...I figured I'd have time to think this over but he said he could do it right then...

Sick to my stomach and John sweating in the corner, they laid me down and hung my head off of the end of the table.  They numbed my neck and then said don't swallow and they took out what looked like a god damned harpoon and inserted it directly into the front of my neck...I closed my eyes and I remember feeling the doctors hands shake. It was over in a matter of  seconds...It would be sent out and I would wait for the results....

I don't remember how long I waited but I had Sarah to keep me occupied.  On the day I was told I could call, I did....I asked the receptionist if I could have the results and she gave me them over the phone she said "they found follicular cells" just as matter of fact and then she said I had a follow up appointment to see the surgeon to discuss it, the next day...So I did what anyone else would have done and looked up follicular cells online....Helllllooooo!! What I found hit me like a freight train...How could this lady behind her desk be so calm?? Didn't she know what this was?? Didn't she know I could be sick?? Didn't she know I was pregnant??

I called John, come home!! I called my mother who left work to come over...I remember my sister in law coming with an iced coffee....I was a mess and didn't want to wait another minute to see this doctor.. My mother called and read the women the riot act and made her give me an appointment sooner....

I went to the appointment and was told they did in fact find follicular cells, BUT it wasn't cancer until they break out of the capsule (this was like a foreign language to me) and there was no way of knowing if it had until they remove it...so to be on the safe side let's take this lump out...Ok only problem with that was I was 15 weeks pregnant...


New Baby!!


Sarah practicing for her new baby!